After four years of planning and lobbying to depose Saddam, the neocons saw 9/11 as their lucky break.
- On 9/11 Rumsfeld says: “Go massive. Sweep it all up. Related and Not.”
- Rumsfeld had learned of four Al Qaeda connections, says he wants “best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit Saddam Hussein at same time. Not only UBL [Osama]” … “Go massive,” the notes quote him as saying. “Sweep it all up. Things related and not.” CBS News
- On 9/13, Wolfowitz was already talking about “ending states who sponsor terrorism” at a DoD press conference.
- On 9/13, JINSA Issues statement calling for “regime change” in Iraq:
“In response to the attack on September 11, 2001 JINSA calls on the United States to: [this is their 1st bullet] Halt all US purchases of Iraqi oil under the UN Oil for Food Program and to provide all necessary support to the Iraq National Congress [Chalabi’s group], including direct American military support, to effect a regime change in Iraq.”
- On 15 Wolfowitz argues that the US should attack Saddam Hussein, not Afghanistan
- at Camp David’s Laurel Lodge (America Alone, p.204)
- On 9/19 Rumsfeld and Perle call a two-day meeting of their Defense Policy Board
- Invited , the Iraqi who later deceived CIA and Congress on WMD
- Not notifying Powell, the Secretary of State, and a hero of the Gulf war.
- On 9/20 Perle and the neocons pubish The PNAC Letter explaining Rumsfeld’s order.
- “Even if evidence does not link Iraq, … remove Saddam Hussein.”
- “target Hezbollah” … “Iran” … “Syria” … the Palesinian Authority”
- It lasted 19 hours and included Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Chalabi, Gingrich, Kissinger, Woolsey, Quayle, and others.
- See also reports from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair.
- James Woolsey says Iraq should be the target, “no matter who should be responsible” for the attacks.
- James Fallows, “Blind into Baghdad,” Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2004, pp.54-56.
At Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board Meeting of September 19-20, 2001, the lines were already drawn, and this meeting set the course for the Iraq invasion. Powell was excluded while Chalabi was invited to speak. The neocon members of the group wrote a letter, published on Sept. 20 in the Washington Times under the name of PNAC. Perle, the chairman of this board, signed the letter.
The PNAC Letter to Bush Sept. 20, Washington Times was drafted by a sub-group of the Defense-Policy-Board meeting of Sept. 19-20. Bin Laden was then known to be responsible and Chalabi admitted there was as yet no evidence linking Iraq to 9/11. Powell was excluded, so the letter takes great pains to make it seem that he agrees.
The authors appear to have little interest in bin Laden but are afraid of appearing to have an agenda unrelated to the present crisis. So bin Laden is mentioned first, but given only two sentences—65 words, compared with 154 for Iraq and 127 for Hezbollah, Israel’s nemesis.
Aside from the two sentences on Osama, the letter is unified by its focus on enemies of Israel: Iraq, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran and the Palestinian Authority, while it ignores entirely the two states most likely to supply bin Laden with nuclear weapons, North Korea and Pakistan.
There is nothing wrong with concern about Israel’s enemies, but nine days after 9/11 the U.S. Defense Policy Board should have been focusing on the threat to the U.S. homeland. U.S. Intelligence had already learned of two Pakistani nuclear nuclear scientists meeting with bin Laden.
What were they thinking to give Hezbollah double the attention of bin Laden? They were thinking of their long-standing goal to remove Saddam and of 9/11 only as pretext.
Details of the Meeting: